Live bitcoin to Zar conversion and historical price charts for South African Rand. South Africa, a country home for some of the most innovative startups in the world, is set for the next fintech and blockchain revolution. 2017 will be focused on mobile payments, digital banking, Bitcoin, SME financing, data analytics, real estate and automation solutions. Trustless bitcoin price, all these areas present an opportunity for the implementation of blockchain technology.
Blockchain could be the most significant social and political innovation to impact Africa in 100 years. Arian Lewis, Head of Open Innovation at Barclays. African banks have been a bit late to the fintech party, but since mobile phones have made such a huge impact on the financial industry in the African countries, banks are looking at this continent to test out new technologies like Bitcoin and Blockchain. To give you some perspective, MPesa, a peer-to-peer mobile money platform, owned by Kenya’s Safaricom and heavily funded by Silicon Valley giants has forever changed the way people do money transactions in East Africa. They provide merchants in Kenya to accept payments through mobile phones. GDP is now transacted through MPesa.
Increasing penetration of smartphones in all of Africa is only going to further benefit MPesa and the likes in future. Interestingly, MPesa was founded by three Americans, who came up with the idea on a whiteboard in a Seattle basement, before bringing it to Kenya. African technology companies absolutely do not want this to happen again. You have a headwind from Silicon Valley and Europe blowing into Africa now around the disruption in fintech. Mbwana Alliy, managing partner at African technology venture firm, the Savannah Fund.
Peer-to-peer payment processors like MPesa and digital currencies such as Bitcoin are tremendously helping people transact money in Africa. This is a trend that big banks like Barclays are not only starting to acknowledge, but are also taking part in it. So we’re thinking, are we actually a tech company? To make that shift, you have to approach talent that sits at the front end of that change curve. Barclays has been helping several blockchain startups across the globe. One of them is based in Cape Town called Consent, a startup that went through the bank’s pilot accelerator in Cape Town in late 2015. The platform uses digital ledger protocol to record medical records that are often mismanaged or lost in the region.
This disruptive technology is scaring the banks from losing the grip. Banks like Barclays Africa and others are trying to adopt these innovations with the reputations of trust they believe legacy institutions bring. Many believe if digital currencies are adopted by more African nations, it could significantly reduce corruption from government. Africa will be disrupted faster than any continent in the world. He feels that a trustless method will remove the need for traditional banks. You don’t need third parties like banks operating as trust brokers anymore. It’s all built into the code.
The way mobile leapfrogged fixed lines communications in Africa, blockchain will leapfrog a lot of the financial infrastructure that exists today. I loved the way he made his offer in Bitcoins. Corruption is nothing new to Africa. Governments are known for internal theft of funds, rigging elections, mismanagement of foreign aid and what not. Blockchain has the potential to make us rethink how we elect government, buy houses, give money, invest, and anything else that requires a paper for documentation. This transparency is enough for providing loans and aid to anyone with an internet connection. The publically available blockchain will allow you to trace the money back to its destination.
If the government goes ahead with the blockchain technology, all the transactions will have to go through a public approval process. It is part of the six step process of a blockchain transaction. Since blockchain transactions need to do this, the public has power whether a transaction is valid. The government must have sufficient funding to send the resources.